“The proliferation of displacement and communications resources everywhere tears
us constantly from the here and now, with the temptation of being somewhere else
all the time. Grab a TGV29 train, take an RER30, pick up a phone, and you’ll already
be there. This mobility only implies a kind of constant being pulled away, isolation,
and exile. And it would be intolerable for people were not to always be a mobility of
private space, of a kind of portable “indoors.” The private bubble doesn’t burst; it
just floats. This isn’t the end of the cocooning, it’s just that it’s starting to get
moving. From a train station, an office park, a business bank, from one hotel to the
next, there’s always that foreignness, so commonplace, so well known that it feels
like the least familiar thing. The luxuriance of the metropolis is a random brew of
defined, infinitely permutable environments. Its downtowns offer themselves up not
as identical places but as original offerings of ambiances, among which we evolve,
choosing one and passing up another, like a kind of existential shopping among the
different styles of bars, people, designs, or iPod playlists. Advertising tagline: “With
my mp3 player I’m the master of my world.” To survive the surrounding uniformity,
the only option is to reconstitute your own inner world constantly, like children
building little Wendy houses (A back-yard children’s play-house, named after the house Peter Pan builds around Wendy Darling after she falls upon her arrival in Never-Never Land) just the same anywhere.”
The Coming Insurrection